Perfecting Your Handshake in 7 Easy Steps

You can tell a lot from a person’s handshake, especially how confident they are. Having a proper handshake is a huge part of your first impression and can have a resounding impact on your career, so it is absolutely crucian that you get it right every time. My favorite career resource, Manager Tools has a 50 minute podcast that should check out when you have time: “Secrets of a Great Handshake.”

Your handshake is your first impression and affects both introductions and greetings in business settings. It sets the tone for the interaction and gives the people exchanging the handshake insight to the other party’s frame of mind and character. With that in mind, let’s talk about how to give a great handshake.

1. Make eye contact before reaching out.

2. Smile at the person you’ll be shaking hands with.

3. If this is the first time you meet, introduce yourself as you reach for their hand

4. Follow the Goldilocks Principle: Not too firm, not too weak, just right.

5. Use only one hand.

6. The webbing between your thumb and index finger should touch the same area on the other’s hand. This is the key to a great handshake!

7. End the handshake after 3-4 seconds or 2-3 pumps.

The tips here are meant for American business settings because the rules change when you leave the country. In the U.S., these rules apply for both men and women, and they’re appropriate in most business settings. In other countries, there may be cultural differences, especially around gender and eye contact, so be certain to familiarize yourself with what is expected before traveling.

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